StopWaste at School


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November 2011 SLWRP Meeting- Food Scraps

The November 2011 SLWRP meeting focused on food scraps at home and at school.

Over 70% of what we send to landfill could easily be divertedOver 70% of what we send to landfill could easily be divertedThe Problem
In 2008, Alameda County, homes, restaurants and other businesses sent 222,457 tons of food waste to landfill- enough to fill nearly 32,000 garbage trucks. Almost 40% of all waste sent to landfill could be composted using existing systems and technologies. These findings and more are detailed in the 2008 Waste Characterization Study- a massive scale waste audit- that examined loads of garbage being deposited in the landfill.

Waste Characterization Study Summary Table 88.24 Kb

The Pledge
Over the next few months, schools are encouraged to have students take the Food Scrap Pledge. Food consumption and food waste increase dramatically between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Schools can play a critical role in educating families to help divert some of the 120,000 tons of food waste that come from homes each year. Teachers can assign the pledge as homework to students and request feedback on who has completed the assignment. (Contact Nate Ivy for details: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

The Challenge
The bulk of the November SLWRP meeting focused on discussing best practices and challenges in implementing food scrap diversion programs at school. Participants met in small groups to share approaches, solve problems, and identify challenges to implementing food scrap diversion at middle and high schools.

Participants captured their ideas on the Food Scraps at School Planning Tool  (click through to check it out).  The tool is divided into quadrants focused on:

  • Upstream Actions that a school might take before food is served (work with purchasing to eliminate plastic wrap, educate students about food scraps, etc)
  • Downstream Actions that a school might take after food waste is produced (sorting stations for students to divert leftover scraps, custodial training for moving/managing food scraps, etc)
  • "Front of the House" systems that are visible to students in the cafeteria, classrooms and other public spaces
  • "Back of the House" systems that are out of view of most students (operations in the kitchen, for example)